US bans to hit Russia over Snowden

US bans to hit Russia over Snowden
Fri Jul 26, 2013 08:54:15

The United States’ Senate is weighting possible trade sanctions against Russia over its attempt to grant asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday unanimously approved a State Department funding bill with a provision, authored by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, to press Russia over Snowden’s case, the congressional newspaper The Hill reported.

“The Committee notes that certain countries have offered asylum to Edward Snowden, an American citizen who divulged classified information to the press. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to consult with the appropriate congressional committees on sanction options against any country that provides asylum to Snowden, including revocation or suspension of trade privileges and preferences,” according to the Graham amendment.

The American whistleblower is still staying in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport after he arrived in Moscow on June 23.

On July 16, the National Security Agency (NSA) leaker applied for temporary asylum in Russia. The leaker’s request is being considered by Russian officials, but it takes up to three months to process the application.

The asylum request prompted officials at the White House to ask the Kremlin to extradite Snowden. However, Moscow has refused to send the leaker back to the United States.

On Wednesday, the White House once again urged Russian authorities to explain the status of Snowden.

Temporary asylum would allow Snowden to remain in Russia for one year and can be renewed annually. Snowden may appeal the decision in court if his request is rejected by the Russian Immigration Service.

Granting asylum to the American whistleblower would mount tensions between the United States and Russia after their recent verbal arguments over Snowden’s month-long stay at the airport.

Sergei Gorlenko, the acting chief of the prosecutor general’s extradition office, said earlier this week that Washington routinely ignores Moscow’s extradition requests.

“The United States is repeatedly refusing Russia to extradite individuals, to hold them criminally liable, including those accused of committing serious or heinous crimes,” he said. “We have been denied the extradition of murderers, bandits and bribe-takers.”

Snowden, a former technical contractor for the NSA and employee of the CIA, last month revealed the existence of mass surveillance programs by the United States and Britain against their own citizens and citizens of other countries.

A new public-opinion poll conducted by the Quinnipiac University revealed that a majority of Americans believe Snowden is a whistleblower, not a traitor.


string(662) "[{"id":"1488966","sort":"3059284","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/28/alalam_635080513459270098_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Russia asks Snowden to help probe US espionage"} ,{"id":"1495319","sort":"3059285","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/07/16/alalam_635095589071384569_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"US trapping Snowden in Russia: Putin"} ,{"id":"1495513","sort":"3059286","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/07/16/alalam_635095991126764543_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Snowden submits asylum request to Russia"} ,{"id":"1497604","sort":"3059287","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/07/23/alalam_635101722432926350_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Snowden gets German whistleblower award"} ]"